Erotic film icon Sylvia of ‘Emmanuelle’ fame dies

THE HAGUE (TIP): Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, whose iconic ‘Emmanuelle’ role symbolized the sexual revolution of the 1970s and who spent years fighting drug addiction, has died aged 60 after a battle with cancer. “She died during the night in her sleep,” agent Marieke Verharen said of the actress who had been admitted to an Amsterdam hospital in July following a stroke. Kristel was catapulted to fame in 1974 aged just 22 by her first movie, ‘Emmanuelle’ which recounted the erotic adventures of a young woman in Asia. A worldwide success, the French film was shown in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees in Paris for 13 years, and seen by at least 350 million people around the world, but Kristel never learned to live with her fame. The image used in the film’s promotional poster of Kristel sitting semi-naked in a wickerwork Peacock chair is seared into the minds of a generation of both men and women.With her shortcropped hair, innocent features and slender frame, she lured movie-goers with her “natural erotic attraction” and made “soft-core pornography acceptable”, Dutch media said, She soon became typecast in erotic roles, and admitted to taking acting jobs in the 1980s simply to make money to feed her expensive cocaine habit. “I was a silent actress, a body. I belonged to dreams, to those that can’t be broken,” Kristel, who for years battled drug and alcohol addiction, wrote in her 2006 autobiography ‘Naked’. Kristel was born on September 28, 1952 in Utrecht, where her parents ran a hotel near the train station. She wrote how she was sexually abused at age nine by the hotel’s manager. At 17 years she turned to a career in modelling, winning the Miss TV Europe competition in 1973.

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